Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 15:14 UK

Apartheid fighter Frederik van Zyl Slabbert dies

Frederik van Zyl Slabbert
Frederik van Zyl Slabbert held talks with the ANC while it was still banned

South Africa's governing African National Congress has paid tribute to the apartheid-era politician Frederik van Zyl Slabbert who has died aged 70.

Mr Slabbert was best known for his efforts in the late 1980s to open up dialogue between Afrikaners and the then-exiled ANC.

He was one of the few members of South Africa's white-dominated parliament to oppose apartheid.

The ANC said he had made an "indelible mark" in fighting white minority rule.

Mr Slabbert was apparently only persuaded to stand for office after a hard night's drinking.

But having been elected in 1974, he became leader of the Progressive Federal Party.

In 1985, he travelled to Zambia for talks with the still-banned ANC in an unsuccessful bid to get the government to negotiate with all political groups.

The following year, much to his colleagues' surprise, he quit politics saying he refused to be "in the slipstream of the government's repression and incompetence".

Mr Slabbert then formed the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa - which aimed to bring resistance groups and influential white figures together.

Much to the government's fury in 1987, he lead a group of 60 influential white South Africans to Senegal where they held talks with an ANC delegation.

Print Sponsor


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific